Today’s market share of Operating Systems is very unbalanced. Windows desktops rule almost everywhere. Mac OS X is growing is realm of influence as costumers find it more usable than Microsoft Windows. And The third contender in this story is Linux. Linux in the desktop world has been developed by hordes of volunteers that all want something out of their desktop. Is it a free operating system, is it a rival to Microsoft, is it a philosophy… linux is known to be a OS for geeks. The unsuccess of such a great product is not due to quality, that it has lots of it to offer, but it is due to the lack of an appellative image. Today I was listening to some podcast and thought of some ideas that would benefit linux:
- Linux shouldn’t be “sold” as an Operative System. Linux should be “sold” as a Life Style. That’s what Apple does with it’s shiny MAC OS X. Every Mac user loves is computer and is desktop and always grabs it as the best thing out there. Steve Sells this idea of a lifestyle better than anyone else.
- The “Sold” in 1. is used on purpose. Not a joke or a free open source sting. Linux shouldn’t think of the Linux users as Users, but as Clients. As in real business, clients are always right. And Linux developers should think of any download a client does as a Sell. No more RTFM when talking to clients. This is the worst case of disrespect that any linux developer can have for those who want to use the system.
- The Steve Jobs thing, again. We could say: “how can apple sell that lifestyle image if Steve dresses so bad?” He dresses that bad because he has keynotes to present to geeks. So he dresses according. But what about apple site? There’s no geek photos in apple.com . All happy people, family oriented, successful living people. And all of them happy. Smiling. Enjoying life, not their computers. They all enjoy their lifes even if they use a mac along. This is smart. This is what linux must do. Linux must be able to transmit a different image from developers eating pizza and coding for 18h a day. That’s not the notion clients have of fun. If linux doesn’t transmit the idea of happiness and fulfillment to the client he will NOT even try linux.
- Ubuntu. This last idea of Happy Life Style is being already tested by some Linux distributions. UBUNTU’s Login screen shows a circle of happy people smiling. Normal people. This image of community and happiness probably has brought more new linux users to this desktop than any other feature. Sure, Geeks will say that it was ubuntus release schedule or it’s easy to use interface, or even just because it is brown… but the truth is that people don’t try things if they don’t feel secure. That image of an desired LIFESTYLE will catch the client.
- Difficulties. The client will have difficulties, obviously, but that’s where Linux has to say: “We acknowledge your problem, We’ll work on it and we’ll report to you soon. Keep on with your life, don’t worry about your computer problem.” Linux Distro companies should always think that the client as a life outside computers, and that the company is not selling an operative system. The distro company should think it as selling a Lifestyle benefit.
Some of this opinions might be controversial. Developers probably will find it difficult to put themselves in the role of sellers. But at the end, when desktop linux is closing the gap on other systems, someone has to think it in this terms. Any unhappy client will take any opportunity to run away of the shop. It’s up for those who live by the Linux Desktop to think how to keep that client. They are who can boost Linux to the point where the market share can shift…